Ride or Die

I wanted to tell you a story but my grand ideas were all swallowed up by the ocean, whose voice is much deeper and far more profound. The sea knows more than I will ever know, has covered more ground and sunk lower than I ever will in this lifetime or any other. Do you believe in reincarnation? The thought alone terrifies me so I don’t think about it, try to distract myself with anything else. Imagine having to do this all over again but as someone or something else. No, thank you. If I can manage to create something intimate of this one life I have been so randomly given, that will be enough for me. In the thick of the confusion which has now become the general state of the world at large, we pull on our cold weather gear and walk a frigid deserted beach for miles. No one around, only the thunder of the crashing of the waves as the sun streams down, crunchy collections of broken up seashells under our boots, and an empty fishing shack worn and battered atop a lengthy pier. Wind tearing into our faces, we tighten our lips and do not speak. Crisp white gulls with their wide pointy wings are swooping out over the ocean, which is the heaviest inky velvet dark navy blue I have ever seen it, while the sky is a quiet light sandy blue. As above, not so below. Light and darkness in stark relief. Nature all around and inside of us is eerie, distraught, tumultuous. Somewhere in an ancient city across the globe, people are dying by the hundreds in hospital beds. People are singing lullabies, people are trapped, people are writing love letters and eating fish from small jars.  Somewhere in the distance between he and I, my anxiety jitters right beneath the surface of my skin. When he touches me, my body reacts by pulling away. My mind reacts by screaming inaudibly Don’t touch. Maybe I’m colder than I used to be, maybe I am afraid. Maybe the things we try to hold on to only want to get away. I don’t know why I get like this, I don’t know why I live with one foot out the door and the other on my own throat. But I know he stays when times are tough. When times are impossible. When my insides are relentless, dark black velvet waves. He stays and he stays until we ride out the storm.

In Case of Emergency Person

Giving you the middle finger, I smile and take another sip of my drink. We’ve been messing around for hours discussing the disastrous state of the world as the fools who run it flick on the code red emergency lights right before taking off in their private jets to masturbate themselves to a comfortable death as the rest of us run the streets and spin wildly out of control. It’s a sickness that lives in all of us I suppose, something like self-preservation perverted into a blood sport, but you and I have decided to try to be on our best worst behavior in order to forget about everything just for one forgettable night. Pouring us each another, you lead me into a darkened room with a plush rug upon the floor. You trace your finger along my jaw while telling me I look like somebody famous, you just can’t figure out who. The taste of your kiss turns my insides to liquid heat. I’m so warm from the whiskey I’d be anyone you want me to be just to feel your skin on my skin, but I don’t tell you this because it sounds so goddamn cliche. There are lovers and there are players, there are nihilists and there are fatalists. Romantics and devils and jokers and right now we are all of these things and so much more. Like two drunk fugitives, we build a crude fire in the fireplace, smoke something to take the edge off the edge we always seem to be teetering on, and make mad love as our little hearts pound like heavenly thunder rolling out across the breathtaking beauty of a crimson apocalyptic sky. To the moody sounds of The Cure, I curl into your arms and wonder what it would be like to live in a world where everyone is free. Everyone is loved and no one is ever left out in the cold. Impossible, of course. But sometimes when I’m alone, when I don’t have to fake being hopeful or charitable or kind, something inside me is anyway. There are people in this world who are so much better than me and at times I wish I were one of them. They are compassionate and sweet, even when nobody’s looking. I watch as the fire weakens to a cold electric blue, turns to smoky embers and then flickers out. You have fallen asleep, the opalescent light of the moon glowing a sheer path across your peaceful face. I close my eyes and fold my hands praying for escape, but only the stars disappear. Inside I am a wide open space, a static vacancy, an empty silence where faces in dreams fade in and out, but none ever stay.

Prophets, Gamblers, Circuitous Routes

Like fresh fallen snow which blankets an endless field beneath a heavy gray winter’s sky, the page spreads itself before me in all its pristine whiteness. As would a child, I want only to run right into it, stomp my little feet right through its glorious empty perfection, dig in, disrupt, burrow, tunnel, build, destroy. Leave tracks. Impose my footprints over and over just to see what they look like trailed out like alabaster snakes behind me for miles. My mind is a meadow of infinite expanse. I write because I am trying to touch it everywhere all at once, like a wild tentacled beast. I trace my fingers over the mouth of it, open wide. Alone with myself, I scan the dim backlit horizon looking for shapes of things I’ve long forgotten but would somehow recognize, I’m sure of it. There are shadows which lengthen out upon the snow like fangs. A full moon rising as the stars begin to reach out in all directions. We forget the way the universe extends itself from every angle. We think everything is pointing toward us but it isn’t. We are not the center of it all, much as we would like to imagine ourselves to be. I watch the people who can’t see past the end of their nose. I see the people who cannot see beyond themselves and these are the ones who terrify me the most. The blissful, the unaware, the ignorant. The ones who have all the answers. The ones who care only for the sick bulk of their wallet, get off over the throbbing size of their stock portfolio, thinking all the while they can separate themselves from the obscene indignities of the rest of the world. Stone hearts and hungry mad saturated eyes. Living for greed as though it won’t be that same disease which annihilates all of us in the end. Meanwhile, I sit in a small room and listen as the geese cry their shrill cry, soaring past the clouds in the sky overhead. Somewhere across town, the sign on the front door of a small cafe flips from Open to Closed too early. Two young mothers fight over the last small tin of tuna fish. And the earth somehow stands still in its spinning; darkness, like an eyelid tired, swollen, descends all over the globe.

Drifters

People will take as much as you give them and then ask for more without so much as batting an eyelash but maybe that’s why we only pass like ships in the night instead of slowing down long enough to see each other’s faces. I don’t want to see, I don’t want to know. I’ve seen and known enough as it is to last a few lifetimes, most of them just as chaotic and aimless as this one. The rain is coming down steady and quiet. I listen to it plinking on the tin roof of an old farmhouse just down the road. You can hear that the street has been soaked for hours already and tiny lakes are sinking into the places where the sidewalk is cracked and uneven. There is no wind, there is no chill in the air as there had been all week. It is a random warm day nestled in among the others, more seasonal. I write about the weather because I need to know what’s inside me, and the way in is always through. Through the things you can sense with your body, touch, taste, caress. The trouble is, of course, I see just as much inside me as I do outside me and it can sometimes be tough to tell the difference. We long for a life instead of just the same day on repeat for an eternity until it’s over. We want the magic but we resist the change of seasons. We want the sun but not the burn, the light but not the dark, the pleasure without the pain. I want all of it. I want all the wrong things and the more I keep that locked away the more it pricks its claws in my veins. In an old hotel room with crooked wooden floors and a high slanted ceiling, I am drinking rose wine and trying to abide by the nonsmoking rules of the establishment. Above a distressed looking chest of drawers, there is a painting of an enormous pale blushing pink peony, its dense heavy head hanging low, its single wide eye gazing down at a shadowy garden below. There is something about the way this delicate flower appears to possess all of the ancient secrets to melancholy, whispers from the beginning of time about the way beauty and sadness are forever intertwined. The way its petals are layer upon lush layer of story, of feeling. It is a universe with endless depths. Its softness like the bend of a sumptuous ache which attracts me to it. I run a hot bath and think of the way you pull my hair and kiss my neck. The way you trail your tongue along the curve of my hip, leave little bite marks on my pale smooth skin. How even though I feel it, I am still alone inside and always will be. When the rain falls I can hear its voice, I can feel it wet and healing as it pours itself over the gravestones on the hill underneath a full gray sky. In the stillness I am most alive but what is ever still anymore. What isn’t constantly chewing on itself. What isn’t lying flat on its back, staring up to the heavens, as the earth comes falling in.

Clutch

Breaking the silence open with my teeth, I chew on my tongue while trying to breathe. It isn’t always this way, but sometimes. Sometimes. Writing is a complicated beast, you wrestle with him. You try to seduce him. Just when you think you’ve pinned him by the wrists, he’s got you by the throat. The truth is I must like the threat. I get a rush from the danger of coming close enough to myself to move in for a kiss.

Walking along the highway, I watch my footing on the concrete curb as high above the clouds are rippled tightly together, layered thick as powder white and blue tectonic plates across the broad expanse, as far off in the distance as I can see. My onyx tights are thick enough to keep my legs warm despite the chill in the air.

It is winter inside my body. It is any given day of the week in the sanitized hallways underneath my skin. My boots are heavy and I could use a drink. And though they are saying otherwise, I could swear it looks and feels and smells like snow.

You remember that feeling when you were a little kid? Snow was a feeling you got in the pit of your tiny stomach. You could sense the icy crystals melting on your tongue before the first flake ever descended. Snow was a taste for something magic to come.

Winding my way around the track which encircles a full sized baseball field, I light up a cigarette as I pass the bench they built as a shrine for a local boy who died of an overdose. There are fresh flowers by the small tree they planted right next to the bench. On the front of the clay flower pot is some sort of small woodland animal announcing the joys of spring. Butterflies and angel wings. Demons and nightmares and all the ways some of us never find a way out of the pain. I wonder what his dreams were and if any ever came true. I wonder if the ones that didn’t still exist somewhere out there, waiting on an autumn wind in a far off place, for their turn, for their chance.

I wish I could say I know exactly how to change my life so I could die with no regrets.

The cluster of evergreens by the tennis court must be a hundred years old, shaggy towering pines. In my mind there are ghosts. In my hands there are lines that cut off at the edges. A heart full of stories that beg to be told. It is too early for sunset, the days are too long for my melancholy taste. I’d rather the dark move in all around. Watch as the softness in the gunmetal clouds turns slowly to black.

What You’ve Been Missing

In the time it takes to burn the bridge back to everything you have ever known, you could build a dream that extends from the sharp gravel in the street to beyond the expanse of the clouds as they feather and separate like candy pink taffy on a sticky summer evening.

Reaching up for the stars was never on her mind, just reaching out for the boys who made her a woman without their so much as changing a single thing about themselves besides maybe hairstyle or bad cologne. Inside she is becoming something she always was but no one has ever seen since her childhood.

Nine years old, sky blue eyes and strawberry golden hair, too scrawny and too loud. Too much fire, too much passion, eyes too big to leave any corner of her tiny world unseen, unswallowed, undesired. When you can tell stories, you learn you can tell any story you want, yours or otherwise, and people won’t know the difference. This is how you become an entertainer. This is how you become a chameleon. You can hide anywhere. You can hide in plain sight. You could be anyone and you’ve been just about everyone by the time the jig is up.

But on this particular morning, as you sip your second coffee and type, listening to the traffic sliding by down below on the highway, you want to tell the story of yourself. The story of yourself as you are, not as you should be.

There are no words bubbling up inside because the words have not yet formed. There is only a feeling. But it fits. It is the exact size of your insides and your insides are infinite. It is a story without words, only memory, only freedom, only voice. What does it say? You cannot only listen. You have to feel. And you know that it is that feeling, the one you aspire to be, though it is already within you. The voice that you are is the one you’ve been missing.

Rip Your Heart Out

What will you do when the words run out, when the sands of the grains of the time you spent together slide through your fingers only to scatter on the wind.

Not everything you want is something you need. How do you tell the difference? I carry within me multiple hearts. I know because at least a few have stopped beating but I’m still here. People have come and people have gone, some a complete surprise and some I have helped along.

I sit at my altar staring into a single flame which flickers and sways slowly in the morning breeze. I picture you and your liquid movements melting all over me. I imagine a pale blue sky above a cathedral, so full of black birds circling the steeple that their bodies and wings block out the sun.

I wait in a smooth black dress by a fountain, my hair undone. Water cascading in grand arched streams, from the hands of topless maidens, from the mouths of naked children who reach for the heavens, white marble statue eyes, cold, like ecstasy, unfeeling.

A filthy city crawling to life beneath my fingernails. My skin is hot with a fire I am dying to remember. I’m wearing that lipstick you like, dark as blood, you hesitate to touch. You watch me like a picture you suspect may come to life. The ache in you possesses me like a predator, hungering for prey.

If you come for me with teeth, I will offer you my neck. If you come for me with roses, I will fasten them in my hair for you, that you may imagine me innocent. I open my mouth and swallow the sun to keep precious the night. When I close my eyes, I still see you. Feel you ring through me hollow as church bells as they clang high above, shatter the air against my chest, locked in a tower made of stone.

I once wrote a poem that went like this: A boy takes a girl and carries her home. She kisses him deep, makes love to him sweet, and come the serene light of dawn, can never return. And though one of them dies, the rest of the hearts within her continue to beat.

Anywhere But Here

Reading a few lines about the supposedly dreadful effects of Mercury Retrograde, I wonder whether or not one can really make her own luck or if the cycles of the giant globes spinning through the universe really do control our emotions and energy and there’s not much we can do about it one way or another. People are strange creatures who, more often than not, aren’t sure what they want of themselves let alone of you, but so many of them carry on as though they do, dragging the rest of us right on down with them. They tell me to speak up, they tell me to quiet down. They want me naked as the truth, they want me covered up in shame. The more I think about what to do next, the more paralyzed I become so mostly I try to leap before I look and speak before I think so hard I never say a single thing at all. The year is advancing at a speed I feel unprepared for but how many of us are ever prepared? If anything we are much better at hindsight than foresight, and absolute rubbish at apologizing for the mess we’ve made either way. We live on a giant rock hurtling through space as it burns out of control, out of existence minute by minute, as ever a new disease threatens to annihilate the weak and destitute, and put coins in the pockets of the rich and weaker still. It’s enough to make your head explode, but sure let’s talk about the eerie threads of misplaced weather and laugh about the state of affairs we know we can’t control. As we climb out the window into the dark summer evening, the sky turns a deep bewitching purple as the millions of little stars twinkle to life and I take a seat next to you on the roof. You’ve got one cigarette left and we pass it back and forth between us along with a bottle of dry white wine, virus be damned. We are already sick, our sedated veins already hum with whatever it is that will bring us to a blacked-out close in the end. You tell me about a time long past when you met the girl you thought you would marry but then it all fell apart as young love so often does. Lying back and gazing up into the endless atmosphere, I feel as though the entirety of time and space beats slow and steady within my tiny heart. The words you choose tell two versions of the same story at once, one laced with sorrow, the other hope. The air moves in soft circles around me and I am listening but I am drifting out over the lights of this glittering city of smoke and pollution, energy and sin. We don’t have plans but the promise of an experience beyond our wildest dreams beckons us forward. Some days you can barely hold it together, you make it out, but only by crawling on your hands and knees. But some nights. Some nights you run so fast you fly like an angel on high, dance like a carefree child along the Milky Way with a flash in your eyes, arms and hands and heart open wide.

Lilith

He places his fingers deep into my mouth to teach me to be silent. I struggle and bite them at first but then my mouth floods with hot wetness and I cannot help but suck like a dazed hungry animal. He plays his games with my body and I play mine and, as if by some cosmic random miracle or joke, inexplicably we fit together more often than we fall apart. Removing my blindfold, he looks me straight in the eyes and in a dark flash I can see the beautiful demons within, I can see all the way through to the other side of his sweet desire to the mischief of his reckless need. With my lips and tongue, I taste the way he tears himself apart, the way his muscles twitch and flex as he raises himself up like a beast. He tells me I’m a filthy precious angel right before flipping me over and taking me as his own. We are rough, we are sweat and restraints, and yet we are a softness so naked with silence you can almost hear the feathers move on the wings of the black birds as they flutter and soar past the open bedroom window in the evening springtime light. I exist for his pleasure. He exists for my pleasure. We take our place in the endless circle of life and death and resurrection. For reasons we do not speak about because we don’t need words we only need our bodies and our fantasies, our mutual aching greed. I take him from her. I take him from all the rest and lock him away. I am his, he is mine. I take him like he takes me, with intentions to expose, intentions to deliver into the sacred hands of madness and destruction. I do not fear the fire, I would like to watch it all go up in flames around us as we consume each other until the end of time. Sing for death. Sing a hymn into the wind of a new beginning. All my life I have observed the others and wondered why I can’t be like them. Why I am more selfish than servicing. Why I am more the shadow of a coming storm than the sunshine on a grassy summer field. Maybe we are each born inside the garden we are meant to become, if only we would let our wilderness grow as it would desire. Climb its own walls, bloom its own strangely colored flowers. Perhaps the way to satisfy the restlessness inside our own hearts is to worship the ways we are different. After we have ruined each other, he lights my cigarette as he stands over me in the dark.

Pet

Perhaps what frightens me most is not having done it well enough to feel complete before I’m erased from this mad place for good. Perhaps I overcompensate, cut off my nose just to spite my face. The way I write the words like tossing smooth rose petals one by velvet one into the void which only widens as the time rolls on. Words like sharp knives flick themselves in my chest, trail little fires along the blue veins in my wrist. The mountains we scale inside our old cavernous souls, searching ourselves for signs of a life worth living, a life that is ours and ours alone. The blood we spill, the tears we cry, the tears which refuse to come and instead bloom into addiction, hidden hauntings, long halls of vibrating thoughts on repeat, on repeat, on repeat. The lovers we take into our darkened caves. Kiss them, fill them, tease them, kill them, walk away. I’m not looking for a savior. I don’t need your plastic Jesus Christ. If what’s within me isn’t enough already then I’ve got nothing more to offer you. Take this skin, take these bones and carry them off into the setting sun as it swallows this wracked planet down whole. It was Bukowski, of course, who nailed it: Don’t try. In some obscure interview decades ago he said it, That’s very important: not to try, either for Cadillacs, creation or immortality. You wait, and if nothing happens, you wait some more. It’s like a bug high on the wall. You wait for it to come to you. When it gets close enough you reach out, slap out and kill it. Or if you like its looks, you make a pet out of it. How many have made a pet out of me. Fastened me with a slick leather leash and told me to crawl. Stroked my little animal head and led me straight into the pleasures of the moonlit gardens of hell.